What is LGBT Discrimination?
Your questions about workers’ rights, answered
Employment laws protect employees from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But what is LGBT discrimination and how can you prove it?
LGBT employment discrimination means treating a job applicant or employee unfavorably because of their sexual orientation. It also protects people from discrimination based on someone’s gender identity, gender expression, or transgender status.
In practice, LGBT discrimination can mean refusing to hire someone, denying a promotion or benefits, or firing someone because of their sexual identity. However, LGBT discrimination protections vary by state. Keep reading to learn about LGBT discrimination laws, examples of LGBT discrimination, and how to prove LGBT discrimination.
What is LGBT discrimination?
LGBT discrimination is treating someone unfavorably because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This can include discrimination in the workplace, housing discrimination, public accommodation discrimination, or credit and lending discrimination.
In many states, laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing, refused services, or denied credit because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, LGBT discrimination laws vary by state, with some states providing no anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people.
What is LGBT employment discrimination?
LGBT employment discrimination means treating a job applicant or employee poorly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes refusing to hire someone because they identify as LGBT or wrongful termination because of an employee’s sexual orientation.
Unlike other forms of employment discrimination, LGBT employment discrimination is not explicitly covered under federal law. However, many states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and several federal circuit courts have ruled that sex discrimination laws cover sexual orientation and gender identity.
What constitutes LGBT discrimination?
An employment decision that treat LGBT employees less favorably because of their sexual orientation or gender identity qualifies as LGBT discrimination. This can include refusing to hire someone because of their sexuality or firing an employee for undergoing a gender transition.
LGBT discrimination laws also protect employees from harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes hostile work environment protections.
What are some examples of LGBT discrimination in the workplace?
Several different actions can qualify as LGBT discrimination at work. Examples of LGBT discrimination include a hiring manager who refuses to hire a job applicant because of his or her sexual orientation violates LGBT discrimination protections. Similarly, firing someone because of their gender identity meets the definition for wrongful termination protections.
Other examples of LGBT discrimination include refusing to promote an employee because of their sexuality, denying benefits only to transgender employees, or paying LGBT employees less than other employees.
What is LGBT harassment in the workplace?
LGBT harassment in the workplace includes offensive remarks, behavior, or actions that target the LGBT community. Workplaces have a responsibility to stop harassment based on protected characteristics such as sexual orientation and gender identity.
Workplace harassment can create a hostile work environment and violate anti-discrimination protections. The harassment does not have to target specific employees to create a hostile work environment.
What laws prevent LGBT discrimination?
Unfortunately, federal law does not explicitly ban LGBT discrimination. Federal law prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, which courts in many states interpret to cover LGBT discrimination. However, some states provide no LGBT discrimination protections.
Nearly half of states have LGBT discrimination laws, including New York. Under these laws, employers cannot discriminate against job applicants or employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Do federal laws ban LGBT discrimination?
Many federal courts have ruled that the federal sex discrimination law in Title VII applies to LGBT people. However, federal anti-discrimination laws do not explicitly ban discrimination because of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the Senate has not moved forward with the proposed law.
How many states have LGBT anti-discrimination laws?
Because federal law does not explicitly ban LGBT discrimination, many states have passed their own LGBT anti-discrimination laws, including New York, California, and Illinois.
According to the Movement Advancement Project, nearly half of states enforce LGBT employment discrimination laws. In ten other states, federal circuit court rulings extend sex discrimination protections under Title VII to LGBT employees.
How to handle LGBT discrimination in the workplace?
If you experience LGBT discrimination in the workplace, you can report it to your supervisor or human resources department. In addition, keeping records on the discrimination can strengthen your case if you choose to file a lawsuit.
Workplace discrimination can be stressful. In addition to taking steps to protect your rights, take care of your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
How do you prove LGBT discrimination?
LGBT discrimination at work can take many forms. But you can strengthen your case for LGBT discrimination by taking a few simple steps. Make sure to keep written records of any conversations or events that violated your rights. You should also keep copies of any reports from your supervisor or human resources on the discrimination, including records showing your employer’s response to your discrimination.
If you report LGBT discrimination or a hostile work environment and your employer does not take steps to stop the discrimination or acts against you, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. A discrimination lawyer can help you prove LGBT discrimination.
What can you do about LGBT discrimination?
Victims of LGBT discrimination can file a lawsuit against their employer. Learn more about LGBTQ discrimination protections, discrimination laws, and potential damages.
A discrimination lawyer can help protect your rights. If you’re in the greater New York City area, reach out to New York discrimination lawyer Charles Joseph for a free consultation. Charles Joseph brings over two decades of experience with workplace discrimination cases, and his firm has recovered over $140 million for clients.